Rookie Year: Day 92

I gave a lot of quizzes yesterday. Well two. But two seems like a lot in one day. Some of my students were confused about this and others were not. I cannot tell if I effectively communicated what was going to happen before yesterday or if they simply were not paying attention.

The first quiz was a homework quiz. The expectation was that the students had already completed the assignments from the week and had the work completed, organized, and labeled. If they had done and understood the homework (I allotted time at the beginning of every class for them to ask homework questions) then they would simply answer the questions.

Of course, this was not how it went. I had students who did not bring their homework despite being told they could use it. I had students who had not labeled their homework or numbered the problems. I had students who I am pretty sure had done the homework but still didn’t answer correctly. I am trying to think about what adjustments to make. One of my favorite graduate school professors would give extensive homework assignments and then on Fridays would give quizzes with problems that were LITERALLY from the homework. (And somehow I would still fail some of those, I was a terrible graduate student sometimes, haha.) I am stealing from him somewhat here but not completely because I don’t intend the homework quiz to be a quiz as much as a homework check. As I wrote before, I am trying to find a good balance between allowing students to practice and also holding them accountable for working on the class. The expectation from my school is to assign homework every night and at the level of student that I have I don’t think that’s an unreasonable expectation. I try not to assign more than 6 practice problems a night.  So the issue is that my quiz is not meant to be a measure of how much students know of the material (that’s what my standards quizzes using an SBG system are for) as much as an accountability system. I am going to wait to see how they do on the second week before I make adjustments. Perhaps they just weren’t prepared for what it meant to do the homework and this first week let them see.

After the homework quiz we worked on substitution and elimination some more using Go Formative. Most of my classes got to work with their markers and erasers. I really wish that I had gotten little markers and erasers sooner. I don’t know if my classes are working because they are new classes or because they can write math on their desks, but it’s probably both. The only downside is that I’d really like them to have a permanent record of some of their work and many of them are not transferring their practice over to their notebooks. I haven’t been doing any notebook checks yet, so I should probably incorporate that somehow so that they have some access to resources that they have created. Or tell them to start taking pictures of their desks and keeping a folder for math work on their Google Drive. Sometimes I wonder if I shouldn’t go completely digital since we are a 1-to-1 district, but there’s still something about physical writing when it comes to working out math. I’m rambling now, sorry.

After practicing I gave them their first standard quiz. Several students went “Wait, I thought we already had the quiz” and I had to re-explain to them what I had explained on the first day and repeated several times and just explain to you all above. That made me worried that I was over taxing them. Perhaps I will try to move the homework quiz to Mondays and be over the previous week so that they have more time to digest Thursday night’s homework. I’m rambling again here but actually that sounds pretty good and I won’t be giving two quizzes in a day anymore. I shall try this for the next round. There. Never say blogging never did any good. Probably no one says that. I don’t know. Rambling. Sorry.

OKAY, SO. After school on Friday I spoke with several colleagues from the department and they told me in not so many words to hang the pacing guide from the district and do what I think is best for the students that will help them learn and prepare them for the EOC. This made me feel quite better. That’s doesn’t mean I won’t keep using the pacing guide–it’s been an outstandingly helpful document for week to week lesson planning, but I’m not gonna freak out as much about sticking exactly to the recommended number of instructional days. I am already incorporating review each day with the bellringers and it won’t do my students any good if we blaze through all of the material but they understand none of it. Better to miss 20% and understand the 80% than cover 100% but only understand 20% right? (I realize I just pulled those numbers out of thin air, but you get the idea.)

I’ve got a couple special “non-rookie year day count” posts I’m working on that I will post soon, but definitely not tonight.

Thanks for reading.


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